Youth Service Brigade/Green Bombers (Zimbabwe)

Country: Zimbabwe
Details of Formation: The National Youth Service, also referred to as Green Bombers, is a programme introduced in 2000 by Border Gezi who was then Minister for Gender, Youth and Employment. It is aimed at Zimbabweans aged 10 to 30 (Wikipedia).
Details of Termination: The group was disbanded for the first time at the formation of the unity government in February 2009, which stripped away a core of ZANU-PFs support base. They were re-introduced in 2010 but were eventually removed from government payroll in 2012.
Purpose: The group’s stated purpose is to transform and empower youths for nation building through life skills training and leadership development. However, they have been condemned in the West and other African nations for gross human rights violations on behalf of the ZANU-PF party. The service is said to indoctrinate its members with absolute loyalty to the ruling party and trains them for military operations to enforce its dominance (Wikipedia). During several election campaigns, the group unleashed terror and intimidation on voters and political rivals.
Organisation: The group is said to have very loose command structures which renders them more violent and dangerous. They are operated by the ruling party ZANU-PF.
Weapons and Training: The first training camp was established at Mount Darwin in 2001. Conditions in the training facilities are reported to include poor construction, frequent hunger and sexual abuse of girls and women (Wikipedia). Training instructors are drawn mainly from serving and retired senior army and police personnel as well as from members of the War Vets.
Size: In 2002, the group is estimated to have 40,000 members. In 2004, more than 80,000 youths are said to have been trained to defend the country.
Reason for Membership: The group is comprised mainly of unemployed youths. The militia was formed as a part of the re-introduction of compulsory national service. Trainees were promised preferential treatment in vocational colleges as well as micro-credit schemes run by the government to encourage self-employment (Mate 2012).
Treatment of Civilians: During a meeting in which villagers were addressed and Green Bombers attended, civilians were beaten and pressured to come forward if they supported the opposition MDC. Although the beatings ceased when police arrived, no arrests were made (Human Rights Watch 2008).
Other Information: Pro-ZANU-PF Youth groups are a subset of the ‘ZANU-PF militia’ and have many synonyms: Youth Brigade, Green Bombers, the militia, the Taliban, ZANU-PF Youth militias, Border Gezi Training Camp militias.
References: Human Rights Watch. 2008. ““Bullets for Each of You”: State-Sponsored Violence since Zimbabwe’s March 29 Elections.”

Mate, Rekopantswe. 2012. "Youth lyrics, street language and the politics of age: Contextualising the youth question in the Third Chimurenga in Zimbabwe." Journal of Southern African Studies 38 (1): 107-127.

Wikipedia. “National Youth Service (Zimbabwe)”.